God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Does Personality Trump Character and Issues?

Last night on the CBS evening news, the CHIEF STRATEGIST for the McCain/Sarah ticket said that this campaign is not about issues--it's about PERSONALITIES. This is frighteningly scary.

If issues aren't the issue, we are in serious trouble. Is it possible that Americans no longer care about issues--Social Security, Education, the ECONOMY, Iraq, Afghanistan, Elder Care, HEALTH NEEDS? Are there enough people in this great country that will decide the future of the country and by extension the world on personalities? Can that really happen?

McCain/Palin will not discuss issues. It seems that by the purposeful design of McC/P we voters will not have access to reasonable discourse by divergent parties. Instead it appears that everything said by Obama and Biden will become fodder for M/P to direct attention from issues. Case at point: "You can put lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig."

McCain knows that he has used this expression and in his case it was deliberately used against Hillary Clinton's health care plan; revered Dick Cheney used it to denigrate a position he opposed; it is an old, old expression. When Obama used it, he was speaking of a position that McCain has taken on the economy. If one listens to it, it is clear that Palin was not the target. I wonder what the world's response is when the big issue in the campaign for the presidency of the United States of America has boiled down to pigs and lipsticks? Do you suppose they are shaking their heads and seeing immaturity and childishness? Maybe.

And then there is the Mc/P commercial that contends for being the sleaziest, meanest, most dishonest, dirtiest mud-slinging charge of this and past presidential contests--the one that accuses Obama of writing, promoting and voting for a bill that would result in the teaching of "comprehensive sex education" in kindergarten. The New York Times as did Fact Check delineated the gross distortion in this commercial. I would like to think that anyone would question it, but, I am afraid that there are people who want to believe anything negative.

And....when Joe Biden spoke to the role stem-cell research can play in addressing birth defects, an issue that is clearly a legitimate discussion issue, the McC/P team pounced and claimed that this was a direct attack on Palin as she has given birth to a Downs Syndrome child and she is opposed to stem cell research. Does this mean the issue now can not be raised?

I hope that the McC/P strategy is wrong. I hope this election is about character which is so much more than personality. Personality is found in people and mediums which focus on the surface of things. Character is what is found in people and mediums which focus on substance. Personality is used to camouflage what is wanted to be hidden. Character is not afraid of hard issues and addresses the difficult. I hope that the American public will begin to see through the camouflage and smokescreens behind which McC/P are hiding and that we as a nation will demand dialogue on substance and the difficult. I hope we demand character. I hope that McC/P will show character and lose the fear of exploring issues with their opponents. I hope that we will have an election campaign focused on the intelligence of our population rather than the prejudices. I hope we grow up.

There are two websites which I find useful and worth checking out from time to time when rumors seem to be taking over truth. Fact Check and On the Issues. The first researches rumors and reports on the truth or lack of truth there in. The second delineates each candidates background, stand and experience on major issues. I do find it interesting, in the light of claims of experiences being bandied about that Palin's list is much less comprehensive than the other three candidates. I think this is worth pondering.


Melissa said...

HOT! HOT! HOT! This was one of the best, most thoughtful commentaries I have read lately. I had not really noticed this was happening. It is scary to think that we, as a country, could fall for this. BUT I do think that there are many voters who lap up this kind garbage because it is so much easier than really analyzing positions or thinking about the long term implications of their political choices.

Terry (teaberry) said...

This whole election "extravaganza" evokes images of American Idol and Dancing With The Stars to me - where it's all about personality, pizzazz, and image, but very little substance. Has our country actually become a talk show caricature of itself? Have people watched (and believed) one too many Jerry Springer shows?

Will this election's winner be determined by who has the best spin? Can we please stick to the issues, and TALK about the critical problems that are facing our nation, AND NOT get off topic?

I dearly hope that our nation can do this, but I fear that personality will triumph. This will be a loss for everyone, no matter who wins. It diminishes us all.

Keep these great articles coming, Jane. Thank you for your voice!

girasoli said...

terry (teaberry) you took the words right out of my mouth. Many voters in this country have sadly turned into American Idol voters. I never liked that show because the most talented was not always the winner. I could never figure out why most voters voted the way they did...and now here we are facing one of the most important decisions for this country and so many voters are thinking in terms of American Idol when choosing their candidate instead of thinking in terms of issues. The question is, how do we get everyone to wake up and look at the consequences of a McCain/Palin win? Good post Jane!

colleenk said...

I am over the top furious about the public's embrace of this unqualified woman as a future VP. What are woman thinking when they say they will vote for her because she's just like me? Do they think they are qualified to be a heartbeat away from the predidency?
Biology does not top ideology! Don't these so called "wal-mart moms" need the help of government in obtaing such things as equal pay, maternity leave benefits, universal health care, tution aid?
And the hypocrisy of the conseratives over unwed motherhood and sex education! Not to mention the outright lies in some of the Republican TV ads.
If choosing the next team to lead our country out of our current troubles in national and international polices is dependent on a celebrity contest instead of discussion of the real issues, I am saddened beyond words. Let's hope people come to realize the high stakes here and vote rationaly on election day.

Valerie said...

On September 11 of all days, they should have been talking issues instead of image. Sickening. Terry brings up a good point; some people on this side of the world are watching it all and thinking the same thing...is this for real?

Jane said...

Re 9/11. I found it indicative of her understandings and readiness that in her interview yesterday--9/11--she connected Iraq with the attack and Al Qaeda when even Bush no longer does that.

jmisgro said...

I agreed with all of you! I can't believe this crap! It is all part of the "training" for Americans. Let's dumb the people down so we can do whatever we want. I think the 'we" is corporate America.
There are so many intelligent and awake people here but I don't believe that it is enough to overtake the "others".
Sometimes I wish I could reach into my TV and slap some of these jokers in the head!

Terry (teaberry) said...

Today's NY Times editorial says it better than I can:


Jane said...

Thanks, Terry. How do we get people to really see what is happening? Even our VERY conservative paper has an article today about McCain's dirty game lately. Maybe this means it is getting obvious to more people than it appears. Of course, if they then support McC/S in spite of that we are really in trouble.

Chiocciola said...

You all said it perfectly. Jane, Girasoli, Terry, Colleen - I agree with all of you.

A friend yesterday made an interesting comment: many voters like to think of themselves as richer than they are, i.e. in a higher "class", and that is why "hockey moms" who should worry about health care costs, schools, ending the war, etc., instead worry about the inheritance tax, for instance - something that applies to a very small percentage of Americans.

They get brainwashed into thinking that Obama is a socialist and that he will somehow hurt their middle class lifestyle - even when they are struggling to get by.

Anonymous said...

Jane - we live in a society that far values personality over issues. Here in Canada our election is all about it - I doubt anyone knows what the bloody issues are. I am fearful about where my country is going.

colleenk said...

Although conservatives and many Republicans pan anything that is written by a New York Times columnist, this piece by a writer whom I admire for his overall fairness says it all for me: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/14/opinion/14friedman.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin. I really pray that we can get past the culture wars, ugliness and name calling (on both sides) and talk about the issues! Name calling aside, the article on Sarah Pallin's govern of Alaska is downright scary: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/14/us/politics/14palin.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin. Some woman may identify with her but do they consider themselves qualified/ smart enough to be a heartbeat away from the presidency of a 73 year old man? But then on the lighter side is the hysterical Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/14/us/politics/14palin.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin.
Peace everyone

colleenk said...

Oops-I meant to post this link http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/09/14/fey-palin-character-debuts-on-snl/ for the hysterical Tiny Fey skit on saturday night live.

Jane said...

Hi Colleen, you and I are on the same wave link. Last night I copied the URL for most of these same articles wo that I could post them on my blog. I think I will go ahead and do that as for some reason it doesn't seem to be possible to post live links in a comment. Did you see the one today about Smoke and Mirrors?

Anonymous said...

Wanna laugh?

This SNL video of Tina Fey as Sarah P. is immaculately performed! I was laughing out loud and I'm not even eligible to vote!

Jane said...

Brenda, this is hysterical!